TNT’s Ray Romano drama "Men of a Certain Age" turned out to have a certain appeal to viewers.
Monday’s series premiere drew 5.4 million viewers, holding on to most of its "The Closer" lead-in (6.2 million). While not a record, it’s still a very solid debut for the heavily hyped series, which represents a departure from TNT’s crime-centric series slate.
Among key demos, "MOCA" attracted just over 2 million adults 18-49, improving on its "Closer" lead-in by 11 percent. That’s also a good number, beating out the performance, for example, of last week’s season finale of FX’s red-hot "Sons of Anarchy."
In adults 25-54, "MOCA" notched 2.6 million viewers, up 8 percent from "The Closer." That number makes "MOCA" the top-rated basic cable series debut of the year in that demo.
The real test for "MOCA" will come in the weeks ahead. The series loses its "Closer" lead-in next month; it will also be interesting to see if the TNT audience sticks with a show that’s different from most of the other dramas on the network.
Major critics were divided on the show, with many hailing it as a bold departure for the network but a few turned off by the somewhat dark nature of the show about men in their mid-life.
UPDATE: OK, so we screwed up by generalizing the media response to "MOCA" by saying "major critics were divided on the show." While a few big papers dissed the series– most notably the Chicago Tribune and NY Daily News– further research shows that most scribes were quite enthusiastic about the show.
"MOCA’s" Metacritic.com score is a healthy 79, with the Chicago Sun-Times, Newsday, NY Post, Entertainment Weekly, USA Today, Time, the Wall Street Journal and the ever-cranky Tom Shales all kvelling over the series to one degree or another. Everybody still does love Ray after all.
CORRECTED 2:10 P.M. CST